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Diagnosis of mild brain injuries

Any suspected brain injury is a serious issue that needs attention immediately from a medical professional in Iowa. In the case of mild brain injuries, the Brain Injury Association of America states that "mild" does not refer to the amount of damage done but refers to the cause of the injury. A mild injury can still cause severe effects.

A brain injury is diagnosed through testing and observations. Common tests used, such as MRIs and CT scans, often do not pick up on mild injuries, so they can be missed. This is especially true if the person is not exhibiting symptoms, such as confusion, memory loss, dizziness, headache and fatigue. However, newer advanced testing can be done if the devices are available that is much better at catching minor injuries. These include positron emission tomography, diffuse tensor imaging, single photon emission computerized tomography and functional magnetic resonance imaging.

Upon initial assessment, a patient may be evaluated on the Glasgow Coma Scale, according to the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. This scale measures functions in movement, speaking and opening the eyes. This initial assessment helps to set where on the brain injury scale the patient rates, which starts at 13 for minor injuries and goes down for moderate and severe injuries. Typically, with mild brain injuries, most of the assessment through observations are based on what the patient reports, which can leave room for errors. This is why advanced testing is often needed for accurate diagnosis of a mild injury.

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